Sun Nov 29 8:44pm ET
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (9) is hugged by teammates after making the game-winning field goal as time expires during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. San Francisco won 23-20. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (9) kicks the game-winning field goal as time expires during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. San Francisco won 23-20. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Troy Hill (22) runs back with a recovered fumble for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99) celebrates in the end zone after returning an interception for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) throws under pressure during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) carries against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers have no idea where they'll be living, practicing or playing next week, thanks to new coronavirus restrictions issued in Santa Clara County while the team was on its flight to Los Angeles.
With the latest wave of turmoil in a season rocked by injuries and disappointing results, all the defending NFC champions could control Sunday was the game in front of them - and the Niners have been in absolute control of their rivalry with the Rams for two full seasons.
Robbie Gould made a 42-yard field goal as time expired, and the 49ers snapped their three-game losing streak with a 23-20 victory over Los Angeles that completed a sweep of their season series for the second straight year.
Nick Mullens passed for 253 yards and led two late scoring drives in his first victory as a starter since September for the Niners (5-6), who stoked their flickering playoff hopes by becoming the first team to beat the Rams (7-4) at new SoFi Stadium. San Francisco forced four turnovers and committed three of its own, but eked out enough points to beat the Rams' top-ranked defense.
''It was the exact type of game that we were hoping for,'' Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said. ''We (knew) we had to run the ball and do all those things we wanted to make it a grimy-type game. When we have those three turnovers on offense, it's very tough to win that type of game, and that's what made it so close. But when the defense ends up getting four turnovers, then it gives you a chance.''
The 49ers were taken aback by the county's decision to essentially ban practices and games in the county for the next three weeks, with Shanahan calling it ''extremely disappointing.'' Players and coaches fielded worried phone calls from their families on the plane.
''We were in LA, and we had a game ahead of us,'' said Richard Sherman, who had an interception and led the Niners with seven tackles in his first game since Week 1. ''That's all we could focus on. When we get off the field, we'll focus on where we're going to go and what we're going to do. We focused on the Rams.''
Los Angeles went ahead early in the fourth quarter on rookie Cam Akers' TD run set up by his own 61-yard run, but Gould hit a 44-yard field goal with 3:11 left before San Francisco stopped a clunky drive by the Rams near midfield with 2:10 to play.
Fullback Kyle Juszczyk then converted a fourth-and-1 with 28 seconds to play during a 56-yard drive to set up Gould, who nailed his third field goal.
Rookie defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown for San Francisco's defense, which largely dominated with big plays. The Niners forced Malcolm Brown's first fumble since 2017 before getting two interceptions and a fumble from Jared Goff, who has committed 10 turnovers in four games.
''Our quarterback has got to take better care of the football,'' Rams coach Sean McVay said in a rare public criticism of Goff, who is tied for second in the NFL with 14 giveaways.
''We have to take better care of the football, or else I am going to keep coming up here and saying the same thing week in and week out,'' McVay added. ''They deserve their respect, but in a lot of respects for us, it was simple execution. Guys didn't make plays in crunch time. We need guys to step up in certain spots.''
Aaron Donald forced a fumble and Troy Hill returned it 20 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter, but the Rams' top-ranked defense couldn't keep the Niners out of field goal range late. Los Angeles allowed only 135 yards in the second half, but Gould hit three field goals.
Goff passed for 198 yards for the Rams, who slipped out of first place in the division after managing just 34 yards on their final two drives.
''The defense played lights-out all day,'' said Rams receiver Cooper Kupp, who had just two catches. ''What they were able to do to the Niners was incredible. As an offense, we have to capitalize on those upswings. We have to do a better job.''
San Francisco's hopes of a second straight Super Bowl trip have been severely damaged by injuries, but several key players returned to boost this impressive win.
Along with Sherman, Raheem Mostert scored the Niners' opening touchdown in his return from a four-game absence with a sprained ankle, and Deebo Samuel had 11 catches for 134 yards in his return from a hamstring injury.
BIG MAN TD
Kinlaw scored his first career TD on his first career interception in his first game back from the reserve/COVID-19 list, rumbling into the end zone after Goff was hit as he threw on the second play of the second half.
49ers: Nickel back Jamar Taylor left the field on a cart late in the second quarter with an apparent left knee injury. ... CB Ken Webster also left on the cart in the fourth quarter.
Rams: LB Troy Reeder had 15 tackles in place of leading tackler Micah Kiser.
49ers: Host the Buffalo Bills somewhere on Dec. 7, but probably not at Levi's Stadium.
Rams: Visit the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 12
New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims has been one of the few bright spots for this winless team. He has recorded five straight games with 40 receiving yards or more, but sadly the Jets continue to lose. He hauled in four of his eight targets for 67 yards in the loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 12. The second-round rookie has looked good over the last few weeks, but doesn't hold great fantasy value. He'll be a low-end WR3 versus the Las Vegas Raiders next week.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard was held in check by the Giants on Sunday, rushing for 32 yards on just eight carries. Even with third-string quarterback Brandon Allen making the start, Bernard received just ten touches (having added two receptions) as Cincinnati struggled to produce on offense. With Joe Mixon (foot) on injured reserve and potentially done for the season, Bernard should be in line to lead the backfield moving forward despite his finicky production. No other Bengals running back saw multiple carries in the contest, indicating Bernard's unimpeded access to RB1 duties for the team. While he remains a cog in the passing game, he has now received single-digit carries in each of his last three contests and will be a tough season-long asset when facing a Dolphins Defense in Week 13 that has broken out as an above-average unit.
New York Jets running back Frank Gore had the backfield all to himself during the Week 12 matchup against the Miami Dolphins. The veteran back rushed 18 times for 74 yards in the loss. He also hauled in three receptions for 12 yards through the air. The 74 yards were a season high for Gore, but fantasy owners shouldn't get too excited. It's unlikely that Gore carries anything more than a low-end flex option for the rest of the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski hauled in six of seven targets for a season-high 106 yards against the Chiefs. He looked like vintage Gronkowski out there, as he and Tom Brady connected on a few big plays down the field, including a 48-yard, catch-and-run play. There probably won't be many weeks where the veteran tight end leads his team in receiving yards, particularly with all the threats at wide receiver. However, it's safe to say that Gronkowski has solidified himself as a TE1 with the fantasy playoffs approaching. A Week 13 bye is up next, followed by a matchup with a struggling Vikings' pass defense.
New York Jets wide receiver Breshad Perriman was expected to see a decreased role, but that not was not the case in this one. He hauled in four of his eight targets for 79 yards in the Week 12 loss to the Miami Dolphins. He tied with Denzel Mims with a team-high eight targets, so clearly the Jets want to get him involved. Sadly, Perriman has not been able to make much happen with his chances. He'll be a low-end WR3 in PPR formats for the Week 13 matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders.
The 49ers Defense had one of their strongest efforts of the year so far in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. They forced a total of four turnovers in the game. Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw two interceptions, including one that was returned for a defensive touchdown by Javon Kinlaw. Goff was sacked twice in the game and lost a fumble. The 49ers also recovered a fumble by Rams running back Malcolm Brown. The Rams only managed 182 passing yards in the game and put up just 20 points on the scoreboard. It was an all-around great effort by the 49ers Defense. They'll look to stay hot in a tough matchup against the Buffalo Bills in Week 13.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin caught a team-high eight of nine targets for 97 receiving yards in a loss to the Chiefs. Aside from a big, 44-yard catch, Godwin continued to operate as Tom Brady's safety blanket over the middle of the field. Godwin's shorter routes out of the slot seem suited to Brady's game at this point, as the star wideout has been peppered with 19 targets over the last two contests. He has the highest floor of any Buccaneers' receiver and should continue to be a safe WR2 every week. Godwin could have upside for even more in a Week 14 matchup against the Vikings' leaky secondary after the bye.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold continued his cold streak versus the Miami Dolphins in Week 12. He completed 16 of 27 passing attempts for 197 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss. It was the fourth straight game that Darnold has finished without a touchdown pass. To be fair, he was playing against one of the best defenses in the league and the Jets offensive line is banged up. There honestly is no reason to own Darnold in basically any fantasy formats going forward.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown had a quiet game in a Week 12 loss against Kansas City. Brown caught two of three targets for 11 receiving yards, as he took a backseat to fellow wideouts, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The former All-Pro receiver was involved in the game plan up to this point, which makes this effort a bit puzzling. Still, it's best to consider this a blip on the radar, considering he had seen at least five targets in each game before this one. Brown gets an excellent matchup after his team's Week 13 bye against a bad Minnesota defensive backfield.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller had a disappointing day as did the rest of the team, catching just four passes on seven targets for 27 yards. His seven targets was second-most on the team, but it did not amount to a performance that fantasy owners would like to see out of one of the top tight ends in football. With that being said, he has at least five targets in nine of 11 games this season and is still a must-start tight end despite this poor performance. He takes on a Jets Defense next week that allowed a touchdown to Miami's Mike Gesicki in Week 12.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne caught three of his five targets for 34 yards in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. Bourne was second on the team in receiving yards in the game, trailing only Deebo Samuel, who compiled 133 receiving yards. Samuel was also the only wide receiver with more targets than Bourne. However, tight end Jordan Reed was second on the team overall in targets with six. This was a relatively standard game for Bourne, who has been right around three or four catches most weeks, rarely going over 50 receiving yards. He's a low-upside player who isn't worth owning in fantasy leagues.
San Francisco 49ers tight end Jordan Reed had a disappointing showing in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. He was second on the team in targets with six, trailing only Deebo Samuel, who had 13. However, Reed was only able to catch two passes for 18 yards in the game. The Rams boast one of the league's top pass defenses and Samuel, who had 11 catches for 133 yards, was the only 49ers pass-catcher to find any success. Reed should remain a low-end TE1 option going forward. Next week, he'll have a more favorable matchup against the Buffalo Bills.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James Jr. reeled in his only target, a 29-yard reception, in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. The 49ers weren't able to do much through the air this week when any pass-catcher not named Deebo Samuel was involved. Samuel led the team with 11 catches for 133 yards while no other 49er had more than 35 receiving yards. James is behind Samuel, Kendrick Bourne and tight end Jordan Reed in the pecking order. That's not to mention the team's running backs, who are heavily involved in the passing game, or rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk (COVID), who should be back next week. James can remain on waivers in all fantasy leagues at this point.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Nelson Agholor had a decent performance in a 43-6 loss against the Falcons. He hauled in five passes on six targets for 54 yards. Agholor now has back-to-back games with at least five catches. He did not connect on a deep ball as he has done many times this year, but it was a fairly respectable performance. Agholor is still a very inconsistent player and tough to trust from week to week. He has four games with at least four catches, but he has gone for two or less receptions in the other seven games. Agholor will look to connect on a couple deep balls next week against a Jets Defense that is prone to big plays.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans hauled in three of nine targets for 50 yards and two scores in a loss to Kansas City. Evans was having a relatively quiet day- and then the fourth quarter happened, where he caught a beautiful, 31-yard deep ball from Tom Brady for his first score. He grabbed a seven-yard touchdown to bring the Buccaneers within three points. Evans continues to be a magnet for the end zone, as he has 11 touchdown receptions this year. He's compiled at least 50 receiving yards in four of his last five games and will be a WR1/2 against the Vikings' poor secondary coming out of the Week 13 bye.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II carried the ball nine times for 66 rushing yards and caught one pass for 37 receiving yards and a touchdown. The Buccaneers were playing from behind for much of their loss to Kansas City, which explains why Jones only saw 10 touches. Still, he showcased some serious explosive ability, ripping off a 34-yard run and a 37-yard, catch-and-run touchdown up the sidelines. The 23-year-old has out-touched fellow back Leonard Fournette 44-24 over the last three weeks, though he proved in this game that he doesn't necessarily need the touches to produce. Jones will get a Week 13 bye before a favorable matchup against the Vikings.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon has a quiet game against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 12. He carried the ball three times for 21 yards and caught two of his three targets for 11 yards. The team got both Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. back in this game. Both players had been sidelined over a month. Mostert and Wilson received 16 and 12 carries, respectively, which led to the minimal workload for McKinnon. On the bright side, McKinnon was the team's most effective pass-catching running back in the game. He's tough to trust for fantasy purposes now that the team is more healthy at running back.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was featured a bit more in the offense in Week 12, catching three passes on five targets for 56 yards in a loss to the Falcons. This broke a streak of five straight games where Ruggs failed to go for over 40 receiving yards. It was just the third game of the season where Ruggs had at least three catches, so he will still be tough to trust going forward. His five targets was tied for the most he has seen all season, so it is hopefully a sign of things to come. Ruggs likely is not a viable fantasy option for his next game, but he will look to build on this performance in Week 13 against the Jets.
Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire received 61% of the backfield snaps in Week 12 versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but was limited to just 11 carries for 37 yards and one catch for two yards. The rookie continues to see a limited amount of carries with the Chiefs preferring to pass the ball with MVP Patrick Mahomes. CEH has yet to over 14 carries in a game since the Chiefs signed Le'Veon Bell and Bell has been getting around 30% of the backfield snaps. Edwards-Helaire is still worth rostering and should be considered a RB2 against a Broncos Defense that the rookie scored against in Week 7.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel had a fantastic game in his return to action in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. Samuel, who had been sidelined for about a month with a hamstring injury, led the team in all primary receiving categories this week, catching 11 of 13 targets for 133 yards. No other 49er had more than three catches or more than 35 receiving yards in the game. Samuel flourished despite a tough matchup against a stingy Rams pass defense that included coverage from star cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Going forward, Samuel should be considered a solid WR3 most weeks, though his target share is bound to go down when the team gets Brandon Aiyuk (COVID) back, which will likely be next week.